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Ideas That Matter: The Concepts That Shape the 21st Century

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  330 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
From ?AbsolutismOCO to ?Zeitgeist, OCO a major philosopher celebrates the power of ideas in our modern age"
ebook, 448 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published November 13th 2008)
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Aug 08, 2013 Zanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, politics
I have issues with Grayling's views on religion

In general this is quite a useful book, providing an opportunity to organise odds and ends of knowledge, with introductions to subjects for further reading, even if the book suggestions are at times limited and unimaginative. Grayling is informative, but he is tiresomely pedagogical and does not attempt to resist temptation to irresponsibly condemn things he doesn't approve of, such as Islam, recommend things he does like, such as classics, and stat
Tulpesh Patel
Feb 14, 2010 Tulpesh Patel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Written with a style, eloquence and thought that makes even the most complex ideas accessible, this is another masterful collection of writings from one of my very favourite writers. This isn't simply an encyclopaedia, but AC Grayling's personal introduction to some of the richness of human thought and invention from Absolutism to Zeitgeist and most of everything in between.

The essay on Vegetarianism sticks out like a sore thumb because unlike most of Grayling's other writings, which whilst not
Jan 04, 2011 Derrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author of this volume, who is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of London, describes the book as a “dictionary of ideas” that are detailed in two to ten page entries ranging from Absolutism to Zeitgist.

To break down this book into simple terms, the 21st Century is being shaped by three dominant concepts that developed and emerged during the 20th: fundamentalism, globalism and bioethics, while the 20th century was determined by philosophical currents that had developed in the centur
Ana  Vlădescu
If you take this work at face value (as, take my word for it, you should), don't read into it the expectations or desires that you might have with regards to it. This is almost an enumeration of "ideas" (and by that, for example, the author means: cloning, fundamentalism, neoconservatism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, postmodernism, utopia, war, zeitgeist, just to name a few) that have influenced the world in the space of the 2oth Century and are still applicable to the 21st, by their emergence ...more
Apr 09, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The sections I've read are very pithy. I was particularly taken with his thesis that science and religion are incompatible, competing world views. I agree, but he does not address two important concomitants of his argument: that religion is a natural human extension of a human need to intellectually project into the future, to know and understand the world in order to predict the future to some degree and even more importantly that spirituality is a very different ball of wax than religion. Many ...more
Emory Craig
Jan 24, 2017 Emory Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Used in some of my interdisciplinary seminars in the past.
Antonio Gallo
Visto l'andazzo che ha preso la politica italiana in questo preciso momento storico, ho voluto studiare qualcosa sul significato che questa parola ha avuto nel tempo. Niente di speciale, a dire il vero. Non ho frequentato uno dei tanti seminari che si tengono in giro, partecipato a convegni di fondazioni, iscritto a scuole di partito, partecipato ad assemblee. Mi sono soltanto riletto la voce "Politica" così come la tratta Anthony C. Grayling, docente inglese di filosofia a Londra e Oxford, auto ...more
Andreas Helset
Jan 07, 2017 Andreas Helset rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear, enlightening and crisp. Well articulated.
David Mcphee
As I start this book, two thoughts occur. The first is addressed in the introduction, how does an idea make the list. The second thought is, although the sections of the book are alphabetically sorted, there is no table of contents that would allow you to prioritize which ideas you would like to pursue and discard others.

With respect to the first the author makes it clear that this work can best be described as “a personal dictionary of ideas, which knowing about would enhance an informed recep
Alex Athanassakos
Grayling is a philosopher with a great sense of humour and a great writing style. This book contains discussions on a list of topics that Grayling considers as important. Its style is somewhere between that of an encyclopedia and that of a collection of short essays. The average length for each entry is about two and a half pages and totally devoid of undefined buzzwords.

Given the breath of the topics discussed, from history to philosophy and from biology to physics, it is natural that not all e
TheIron Paw
Nov 04, 2011 TheIron Paw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A worthwhile book to have on your bookshelf (or in the bathroom). It's arranged like an encyclopaedia (alphabetical) with each topic briefly outlined in a couple of pages. Each topic finishes with a "see also..." which allowed me to simply begin with a topic at random and then follow through on related items. As the author says, its an opinionated survey: he presents the basic outline of each "idea" objectively, but consistently shows his own opinions about it. This makes for a very interesting ...more
Aug 26, 2012 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sort of an intellectual bathroom reader type book. The content is a series of essays on topics ranging from A-Z, starting with Absolutism and ending with Zeitgeist. Each of the essays is Graylings view on the topic. The general idea is that these topics are suppose to be important to 21st Century. This is Graylings subjective opinion, but I found myself struggling to see how topics like Vegetarianism was worthy of making it on the list. (My obvious bias as an Omnivore, not withstanding.) Some of ...more
Nov 29, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Great reference book for 'ideas,' for example: Marxism, relativism, egoism, altruism, epistemology. In most cases, Grayling presents the idea neutrally and then in the last 1/3 of the entry, criticizes or praises it based on his personal position. Since I share many of his propensities this was not a problem but I imagine others who clash with him will find it annoying. Because of this I am rating it 4 stars as although criticism can be helpful to understand the idea, it doesn't appear to me to ...more
May 29, 2011 Fil rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, essay
When discussing ideas my primary concern is to have a position that I arrived at with reasoning or critical thought. I do not like to read "a book that aims both to arm readers with knowledge and engage them in philosophical debate" in which the author does not use said reasoning when voicing his own opinion. Mr. Grayling does so on some topics but not most, which grates on the nerves of the dilettante philosopher I profess to be. A letdown after enjoying his "The Reason Of Things" and "The Hear ...more
Stefan Liberadzki
Feb 21, 2012 Stefan Liberadzki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A whistle-stop tour of some of the big ideas of our time. It's by no means comprehensive, and Grayling doesn't shy away from injecting his personal views into much of the discussion (especially when it comes to religion!) But he does an excellent job of expounding tricky concepts with clarity, precision and wit. His writing style is perhaps the best aspect of this book: it literally had me gasping with the sheer brilliance of some of his phrases.
Jan 30, 2016 Jorge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coleccion
un buen compendio de conceptos actuales y "modernos", enriquece y aclara muchas veces enalteciendo el valor moral/ético cuando hay una postura débil/fuerte; su postura contra la religión por su impacto negativo moral-social-filosofico-cientifico es muy claro, además de todo lo malo que evoca (principalmente las guerras y asesinatos en nombre de dios-entidad)
Nov 30, 2010 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this one from the library for a paper on existentialism. Underlined a few areas before realizing the book wasn’t mine. Thankfully the library was forgiving and didn’t charge me, but I would have been willing to keep it if they had. Great resource.
Jun 11, 2014 Nico rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the entries I've read it's very clear, articulate, relevant and up to date. I don't know how Grayling decided what is important, but it seems to work. He's one of the most famous contemporary philosophers.
Jan 15, 2013 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting overview of some of the ideas that, according to Grayling, will and do "matter". While certain entries are reasoned and thought-provoking, others are too personal, chaotically structured, or suffer from stylistic awkwardness.
Pascal Durrenberger
A lot of topics were covered. A good approach to some modern ideas but need to back up with much more in-depth reading.
Kendel Christensen
Gave a lot of solid definitions for things that we all hear, but generally are inept at explaining. Very worth skimming.
NJ Wong
Jan 20, 2016 NJ Wong rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short and well written articles about critical and important concepts that any modern intellectual should know.
Jan 22, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grayling manages to explain complex subjects with good clarity, but can't help imposing his views on the reader and at times can be quite biased.
Daryl Hunt
Aug 18, 2011 Daryl Hunt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Grayling make Philosophy understandable to those of us who never studied it and this book discusses the important ideas and concepts for the 21st century a must read.
Jack Fleming
Oct 29, 2013 Jack Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slightly patronising tone, particularly on issues of faith and scpeticism but very learned and wise.
Steven Williams
Apr 21, 2014 Steven Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very surprising find. Before I found this book I don't belief I had even heard of the author. It's a sort of miini encyclopedia. Very good book, I enjoyed it emensely.
Michael O'Connor
Michael O'Connor rated it it was amazing
Jan 19, 2013
Cheryl Cy
Cheryl Cy rated it really liked it
Feb 08, 2011
Tero Parviainen
Tero Parviainen rated it it was amazing
Feb 22, 2012
Stevie Hunter
Stevie Hunter rated it really liked it
Nov 09, 2014
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Anthony Clifford "A. C." Grayling is a British philosopher. In 2011 he founded and became the first Master of New College of the Humanities, an independent undergraduate college in London. Until June 2011, he was Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London, where he taught from 1991. He is also a supernumerary fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford.

He is a director and contributor at Pr
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